Jack Cooper was born in Pharaoh, Oklahoma, on May 14, 1932, and joined the National Guard at sixteen years old, serving in the Korean War a few years later. He recounts his 30-day journey to Hokkiado, Japan, where he received combat training for roughly 6 months prior to his arrival in Korea. Amid landmines and near the Main Line of Resistance (MLR), he recalls the setting as dangerous and details the living conditions as well as the duties of manning a howitzer weapon. He recounts the intensity of battle but states that it was an honor to serve. He shares that the military was good to him upon his return, allowing him to collect some disability, attend university, and purchase his first house. He is proud of what Korea has become and is today and offers a final message to younger generations.
Journey to Korea
Jack Cooper details his journey to Korea. He describes his train ride down to New Orleans, boarding the US William Weigel, and sailing through the Panama Canal enroute to Asia. He shares that the trip took 30 days from the time he boarded the ship in New Orleans to the time he arrived in Hokkaido, Japan. He recalls roughly 6 months of combat training in Japan before being sent to Korea where he was first assigned to test weapons.
A Picture of the Chorwon Valley
Jack Cooper paints a grim picture of the Chorwon Valley as he shares his memories. He recalls the gloom of winter, the cold temperatures, and the landscape destruction as the vegetation was reduced to mere stumps. He recounts the setting as dangerous due to close proximity to the Main Line of Resistance (MLR) and the excessive amount of North Korean, Chinese, and American mines hidden about. He recalls most fighting taking place with the Chinese rather than the North Koreans and elaborates on his living conditions in a foxhole.
Duties and Thoughts on Battle
Jack Cooper details the duties of soldiers assigned to a howitzer weapon and shares that there never was really any downtime. He recalls men rotating on and off shifts and most of the action taking place in the afternoon and evening. He shares that the intensity of battle made one nervous at times but that one grew accustomed to the reality over time. He adds that one did what he had to do.
An Honor to Serve and Returning Home
Jack Cooper shares that he has no regrets from his time in the service. He emphasizes that the military was good to him as he drew some disability, bought his first house, and used the GI Bill to go to attend university. He states, frankly, that it was an honor to serve and recounts his return home in 1952.
Pride and Korea Today
Jack Cooper shares that he is proud to say that Korea is what it is today thanks to the efforts of the American military and the partnership created in Korea between both entities to stop Communism. He states that the Korean people are very grateful as they often thank him for his service. He also comments on Korea's economic status, the legacy of the Korean War, and offers a message to younger generations.
[Beginning of recorded material]
J: Colonel James L. Stone.
J: United States Army. Born in year 1922. December 27th, 1922. Um, Pine Bluff, Arkansas. [One way] It’s a short distance from the Arkansas River. What do you call,
I was a, Normandy where I’d been, called up for World War II, but they told me, the swore me in, they were going home. We’ll call you back later. And I had to go somewhere and get a job. They forgot about me.
J: So I went to work with General Electric down in Houston.
I But what did you study in the University of Arkansas?
I: Chemistry. Did you like it?
I: Do you like Math, Chemistry, Biology, Science?
J: And, uh, [;it didn’t totally leave my mind].
I: Um hm.
No, I just lived a normal life there, the University. Graduated like everybody else. I was a, I graduated from high, um, graduated from college.
I : Uh huh.
J: And went down to Fort Hood, Texas, like for ROTC Summer Camp. I was sworn in the army there.
J: There’s where they told me you go home.
I: Go home?
J: Yeah. Cause they, what do you call it, they didn’t have any place for us. And they said wait until we call you up.
I: Um hm.
J: So I went home as I told you, had to get a job.
I: Um hm.
J: It took a long time. Then went to work for General Electric down in Houston. Then when they called me up by the Fall
of 1948. That’s when they broke the Korean War out. I had about two years before I went to Korea. They were training troops there at Fort [Ord] California.
I: Um hm.
J: Then after we got on line in Korea, [INAUDIBLE] a war. I don’t know
what more you want.
I: Where did you arrive, Inchon or Pusan?
J: Pusan, March of 1951. But, like everybody else, I rode that boat over. We got off the boat there at Pusan. Then they put us on board a North Korean pullman going North. Chin, ch, ch, Chuncheon.
J: They, uh,
well instead of going to the, the front line, they sent us around the side, uh, Chuncheon.
I: Um hm.
J: It was in the middle of Korea. And after we were there for about 60 days, they moved us back to the Western.
J: Western sector.
I: How was the situation there?
J: Pretty good, pretty quiet, uh.
A little bit of fighting, not too much.
I: Not too much.
J: Um, uh, that was kind of a quiet and peaceful area over there. It wasn’t even, they didn’t act like very much wanted it, and we didn’t much want it.
I: Um. When you went to Korea, had you thought about that you are going to fight against Chinese?
J: Had I thought about it? Yes.
I: So you knew that there were Chinese soldiers there?
J: Knew they all what?
I: Chinese soldier.
J: Oh yes, I exp, I expected many Chinese soldiers, yes.
I: Um hm.
J: Course they and got pretty common at that time. The summer 1951, I get my years mixed up.
I: Yeah, yeah.
J: Um, they started, Chinese started pushing South. And I, they got as far as Seoul. And the reason why I know that is right at the tip top of Seoul overlook the city of Seoul, the capital of Korea.
I: Um hm.
J: Right on top of the hill,
I had my platoon there. And, you know, we was, of course, uh, they had some other soldiers there, too where it’s, so we, that was in the summer of 1951 I believe.
I: So what happened to your platoon, your soldier?
J: Well, well, we didn’t have anything much to do there. So, um, at that time, things was quieting down. And the Chinese, the Chinese that time wanted a peace talk.
I: Um hm.
J: Uh, they started one out, but it never did materialize into anything you know.
So, um, we, the Armed Forces went in. The 8th Army was defending North Korea there, not North, it was around Seoul. And we pushed North.
I: Um hm.
J: The Forward Offensive of 1951.
I: Um hm.
J: And there we had some heavy casualties. And, uh, had a large number of Chinese soldiers killed and a large number of our people killed. And this, uh, we swept North, main road going North.
I: Do you remember that scene, when Chinese were coming at you?
J: Oh, they were
coming at us with [ STAMMERS] They, um, they went back in a hurry. They looked, they recognized there was too many men. But anyway, we pushed North, went North [INAUDIBLE] the main route North [INAUDIBLE] You know where that is.
The main route North, [gonna rest you set there]. That was a, reason for that was secure the, the Peace Talk where
I: Oh, Panmunjom?
J: They were trying to secure that over there and, um, make them want peace.
I: So what happened in November 1951 around the Imjin River?
J: Yeah, November 21. That was, um, North of the Imjin River.
I: North of Imjin?
J: Yeah. Um, I may be mixed up. Had one of them mix, [INAUDIBLE] two or three rivers up there.
J: Imjin River was one. The Hahn was another one.
J: And, um, we were as far North as you’d go on the, cut right across the river from, my position was a, I forgot the name of that river.
J: Imjin, yeah, right.
J: Um, we had a big fire fight there a couple times. But at, um, a lot of men were killed on both sides.
I: How many men in your platoon?
J: Well, there were 48 men.
I: Forty-eight men.
J: Yeah. One of them Korea, Charlie.
J: Yeah, Charlie was his name. He was a, I never knew his name. He had part of his face blown off, Charlie. Um, had 48 men and, um, I ought to know, I counted them. Now this was on a city that, uh, famous movie
I: Do you, it’s amazing that you remember the number of men that you actually
J: Well I ought to, I counted them.
I: But how many Chinese soldier were attacking you?
J: Oh, they must of, I would say they had, uh,
two battalions I ended up with.
I: So about 800, 900?
J: No, that was, 800 it would be. Course you can’t tell them at night.
I: I know.
J: You’d be, in other words, uh, we were actually hit. One of them. The first attack started out, started out about 10:00 that night. We knew they were coming.
I: Um hm.
J: Um, and actually, we went quite a few times we got in the trenches, drove them out. Then again. It kept repeating itself. Um, then along about 1:00 I thought we’d held. But then they threw another battalion at us.
I: Oh. Another battalion?
J: Yeah. And they had plenty of men. I don’t know why they did it, but, uh, I can’t see any sense in what they were to do, you know except take another hill.
I: So at some point, you were wounded.
I: Where were you wounded?
J: Um, three different places.
I: Can you point?
J: Legs, under the neck
I: Through the neck.
J: Yeah. Right here. Went through here, come out over here.
I: Oh. Were you able to breathe?
J: Yes I breath. But, uh, here’s what happened. Some, uh,
bleeding profusely and some, some GI, I don’t know who he was, come along and put a, what we call at that time, a mask and it helps stop the bleeding, you know.
I: Um hm.
J: In other words, uh, you know those safety masks we all wear?
J: Well, that was, it wrapped around my neck.
And that stopped the bleeding.
I: And you still were conscious, right?
I: And you saw Chinese coming at you again and again and again?
J: Oh, more, you know what to do. You just would, there were too many of them. But, uh, considering the number we killed,
it was a horrible thing. Course my men did a, did a lot of the work. I just, here. You, you can come over and look at it. You can come over here. Here. It should be right about here.
J: It went through there.
J: Now I,
I realized later there was another way out. They could, I had to let some of them go. The rest of them I was gonna stay there with the wounded.
I: What were you thinking?
I: What were you thinking, so many Chinese soldiers around you, and you asked them to leave?
J: Well, no, I didn’t ask them to leave. I said they could if they wanted to.
J: And, uh, um,
now I’m, [INAUDIBLE] refuse, they refused to give up. Not a single man threw his arms up.
I: Not a single man.
J: Not a single man. Even poor Charlie, took off part of his face.
I: He was Korean soldier.
J: Yes, [INAUDIBLE] assigned to my platoon.
I see what else you’ll be ask then.
I: What, how did you defend against Chinese soldier? At, at one point did you stand up and
J: I had to defend
I: Uh huh
J: firing a rifle.
I: What, what rifle did you have?
J: M1 rifle.
J: Sometimes a carbine, whichever one’s handy.
I: At that time, did you have a M1 or Carbine?
J: I had both.
J: Yeah, we had everything. There wasn’t anything we didn’t have. I heard, some of my men were shot. So they weren’t any use to me shot. Had to grab those wep, weapons and put them up. Um, here’s a little side story. I had one made me so damn
mad I didn’t know what to do. Had one soldier that could not load M1 rifle.
I: Um hm.
J: And here I was right in the middle of a fire fight, fire fight with the enemy, and he couldn’t load t hat damn rifle. But let me say this. I showed him how, and later on he kept providing assistance. But it made me awful damn mad have
a man in the front line in the middle of a fire fight and couldn’t even fire their M1 rifle.
J: But, uh, it can be pretty expansive.
I: Can you put into this, this fact into perspective? You were surrounded by two battalions of Chinese soldier.
I: And some of your men had to withdraw.
J: They didn’t have to.
I: They didn’t have to, but they did, right?
J: No. None of them were through. They all said yeah.
I: All of t hem?
I: Forty-eight platoon men?
I: Oh. And
J: They were captured quite a, oh, quite a few of them were killed.
J: Um. Well here we had some that were captured, yes. But they were dead. But, I shouldn’t say that.
I: You were wounded, leg, here in the neck, right?
I: Throat, and three times wounded and surrounded by the Chinese, 800 of t hem. Is it kind of miracle
J: [INAUDIBLE] We gave them a rough time. The Chinese didn’t want to, they weren’t had it, they weren’t overly eager to come up there.
I: And is it kind of miracle that you survived? You were not killed?
J: Well, the reason why I survived, well I had a First Lieutenant bar written on my, you know, uniform. And, um, anytime you can get an officer, you know, they, they figure you can give me information that you might need later on.
And I noticed this when I, uh, the next day or two when they finally woke us up and started questioning us, you know. And they thought I knew [INAUDIBLE] but I didn’t.
I: Who do you think that protect you?
J: Who protected me?
J: We, we protected ourselves. That’s what you mean?
J: Uh, my men helped me stay alive. Incidentally, one of the guys that helped me stay alive, his name was Stone, S T O N E, Floyd Stone. Same name as I.
I: Same name.
J: Yeah. And he fired M1 rifle. Course I did, too. But that’s an unusual, isn’t it?
J: He was captured right along with me.
I: So two Stones captured.
J: Yeah, two St ones, no can. No can.
I: So how, I mean, were you transported to the camp, the prison camp or you walked up to the Yalu River?
J: Well, both.
J: Um, we, uh, we were captured that night. I was put on a what we call, uh, you know what, when you’re carried off on a stretcher?
I: Uh huh.
J: The reason why they wanted me cause I had that big bar. They figured I could give them some information. Um, so the next day
when they finally got me awake, you know, they asked a bunch of questions. I didn’t know anything they didn’t know.
J: They were there right beside me, um. Oh, they saw the number of men were killed. We saw the number of men were killed.
And a number of men were killed on both sides.
I: Did they give you medical treatment?
J: Well, uh, no, they didn’t. Uh, only thing that saved my life that, uh, GI.
J: you know. Putting that band-aid across it. But, uh, most of them, they don’t get medical treatment. The Chinese don’t give much, they let their own men die. What’s the matter? I shake you up?
I: No. I mean how were you able to recover from the wounds in the leg and the neck without medical treatment?
J: No. well, I just used a band-aid.
I: So band-aid saved you the wounds out of guns.
I: You’re amazing.
J: I’m very lucky. Um, course it went on for quite some time, and I think other poor guys didn’t, t he reason why saved me is that Lieutenant
bar I had on. Hadn’t been for that, they’d probably let me go.
J: But, um,
I: How, how Chinese soldiers in the camp, prison camp, treat you? They weren’t nice.
J: The way I figured, they have this officer like, I got treated a little bit better.
I: Because you are officer?
J: They wanted to keep me alive. That was the reason why. The rest of them now, they didn’t treat, treat them that well. Matter of fact, some of them died.
I: There, in the camp, right?
J: Yeah. But, uh, they expect it. We could, uh, but fortunately thank God they served us some food, rice.
I had, had one meal a day.
I: You did, too.
J: Yeah. But rice.
J: Yeah. Um, I don’t know why I was singled out. But I was.
I: You were the only officer there?
J: I was the only one there. The rest of them are all men, enlisted men.
J: And I tell you, they really fought for their country.
I: No doubt about it. Um, had you thought that you not going to survive out of that camp? What was the things that kept you going in that prison camp?
J: The only thing you ‘d want would be food. Uh, you don’t think of your wife, you don’t think of your children or that. You get all your mind set on food.
When you gonna eat again?
J: If you’re gonna eat again. When the Chinese wanted something, they come up with the food. They knew, they knew that I belonged to the 1st Cavalry.
I: Um hm.
J: And they knew that.
J: So after while, it stopped. Um. They weren’t, they weren’t always mean about it.
[That was a fall of Mig switch]
I: Yeah. Why were you kept there longer than any other people?
J: I wasn’t captured any longer.
I: Oh, you were
J: Some of them been there longer than I was.
I: Okay. But some of them were released earlier than you.
J: Well, the officers got really [slashed] In other words,
they had a habit of, uh, releasing the officers last. [INAUDIBLE]
J: Smart move.
J: I don’t know why. One of them probably may keep the [INAUDIBLE] a little longer. I, uh, go ahead.
I: Were you married at the time?
What do you think about Americans, they didn’t really know that the Chinese soldier crossed the Yalu River in October of 1950? It’s a big Intelligence failure.
J: What do you mean a big, what, we knew they were there.
I: Many people told me that they reported there Chinese soldiers there in, uh, North Korea in October, but MacArthur headquarters wasn’t
really aware of that. He ignored that.
J: If that’s the case, I don’t see how in the hell, how in the hell and they come across by the thousands. How could you miss them?
I: Right. That’s my question. How could miss them? And many people reported back to the MacArthur Headquarters
I: but they ignored it.
J: Well, they might have. All they had to do was look their head out the door or some thing and they’d see them.
A lot of time they were sitting right there right across the hill. And, and they’d sit there on one hill and you’d be on another one. How could you miss it?
I: Right. Why American government gave you Medal of Honor?
J: Oh, what’s this now?
I: Why U.S. government gave you Medal of Honor?
J: I didn’t know.
I: You didn’t know, right?
J: Didn’t know a thing about it, um. [INAUDIBLE] Matter of fact, when I crossed the line, I knew [enough]about it.
I: But people recognize you.
J: Well, they recognized a few things that I did.
I: Um hm. What are those few things you think is important?
J: Keeping the men together, letting them fight. Not a single one of them gave up.
I: You never gave up any men.
I: Um hm.
J: No one through their hand up. Matter of fact, they would rather go down. And what hurt so bad was some of my best men were killed, the real good men.
And they got killed. Um, they, um, my platoon Sargent got killed. He was shot three or four times. My messenger, he got shot three or four times. In other words, it was one bloody bath out there. Everybody was shot. We had 100% casualties.
J: You know what 100% is?
J: And some of them might have been shot more than once.
I: Um hm.
J: And I have to say this. I’m not gonna get into this close hand to hand fighting. But when you see a, my man taking a Chinese weapon away from a Chinese boy, he’s already fighting for his life.
And we, uh, I saw my own personal men fighting for their lives, taking the enemy soldier to, taking their rifles away from them. It used to be the funnest darn thing. You’d show up there, and you’d grab the rifle, take it away from them. Well, so much of that.
I: You know, now the, if you go to department store here in the
United States, Arlington, Dallas, anywhere in Texas, you find Chinese products everywhere.
J: Well let me say this. The Chinese [INAUDIBLE] store now.
I: Um hm.
J: A lot of things they were good about, um. I, we got hit one night real hard in another location.
And, um, we killed a number of men. But the next morning, I got up, I found quite a few that, dead out there, you know. And I went out there hoping to get some of the men, give me some information. Course, they couldn’t speak English most of them. The point was they showed me pictures of their home.
J: You know. So I thanked the m [INAUDIBLE] I let them live. Let them live and, uh, course a short time later, they died. [INAUDIBLE] no matter when I let a man live out his life there. Why, why take it away from him?
He doesn’t mind going back home like we were. Now I could go on and on. But I [INAUDIBLE] the Chinese were good to us, especially when it come to food, uh. Some of them, and maybe we got some food now. I said food, some food.
Ah, let’s see. And, of course, there were some cruel ones, too. [INAUDIBLE] now, go ahead.
I: So now the China, Chinese product is everywhere.
I: But they are still Communist country.
J: Oh listen, they just trying to make a living like we are.
I: Exactly. And so we call it frenemy, the relationship between China and the United States as a frenemy.
J: Well, it should be friendly.
J: It should be friendly. Wouldn’t you have been as understanding a trade
J: [INAUDIBLE] But uh, how did they expect a Chinese guy to make a living, too?
J: The Chinese are good people.
Of course, uh, I don’t particularly care for their form of government some. But they got a large number of people to feed. I mean, millions.
I: 1.3 billion.
J: That, that many?
I: That many, 1.3 billion.
J: Um, alright. How bout you have any questions?
I: I have more question. Have you been, uh, Seoul? It’s a friend and enemy.
J: Have I been, I have no enemy over there.
I: No, you don’t have any enemy over there?
J: [STAMMERS] I have no, uh, no hatred toward the Chinese. Why?
I: Because you
J: Well, he was just doing what I was doing.
I: Um hm.
J: I was fighting for my country, and he was doing the same thing.
I: So would you shake hands with a Chinese soldier if it is arranged?
J: Well, I don’t know about that. I’d try to be very nice, but I would say this.
I’m not gonna go around shaking his hand now.
I: Um hm.
J: But he was doing, making a living like the rest of us doing. He wasn’t overly mean. A few of them might have been. But, we had a few of them that were mean, too.
I: Have you been back to Korea?
I: You never been back to Korea?
J: Well, I don’t work. I spent 29, 29 months over there. That’s enough.
I: You are sick and tired of it?
J: No. I have no desire to go back to Korea. Another thing, too, is my, what do you call, legs, can’t takes treatment [INAUDIBLE] Have you, you been there.
Cause there’s mountain after mountain. I mean, this way. That’s what you look up at. And I in no small, peaceful, what do you call, farmland. That is one mountain after another.
J: And you know I’m right.
I: Seventy percent is mountains there.
J: Yeah, I know that. And quite a few of those I, I climbed, too.
J: Actually, um, I admire the Chinese autoways. But, uh, they’re a little bit, uh, set in their own ways [INAUDIBLE] Cause they were losing a large number of men.
I: Uh huh.
J: And we were [INAUDIBLE] I mean people getting killed, you know.
And for nothing. So t hat each side agreed they’d try to seek peace. So it took a long time to negotiate peace.
I: Um hm.
J: Now they had a big peace ceremony going on in Panmunjom. And they never could get that thing started, you know. But the whole, what do you call,
trouble was Joe Stalin
I: Um hm.
J: who was a premier of Russia, he wanted to continue the War. So they, uh, dragged it on and on. Both sides wanted peace. What’s the matter? I’m boring you?
I: It was Stalin.
J: Yeah, Stalin wanted peace.
I: Um hm.
J: I don’t want no peace, no peace.
I: No peace.
J: He wanted to continue the War.
Now we, um, I got a, a guy by the name of Zhou Enlai who was a foreign minister of China, and he wanted peace. And so did Mao Tse Tung cause they were recognizing, they were getting a large number of people killed on both sides. We wanted out. They wanted out.
J: [INAUDIBLE] Um, Zhou Enlai made a personal trip from Peking, was the capital of China.
I: Um hm.
J: And he went to Moscow to see Joe Stalin
I: Um hm.
J: And Joe Stalin said no you carry that War on and made him mad as hell. I said well,
we went back. So the Peace Talks stalled again. Then a short time later, Joe Stalin must have had a heart attack. He died. And then we had, I wonder sometimes if someone didn’t slip him a mickey.
J: I’m not boring you?
J: But he, uh, when Joe Stalin died, then that was the key. They were coming for peace. What it was.
J: And when he died, peace went a little bit faster. Thank goodness, see, we got rid of him.
I: Um hm.
Next year will be 60 years anniversary of Armistice.
J: Yeah, um hm.
I: Sixty year. The War that you fought has lasted 60 years. Can you believe that?
J: Yes. But however, I look at the War now as become peaceful over there. Neither side wants a war.
I: Um hm.
J: Yeah. We could live in peace they wanted to.
Um, I’m a little bit worried about it, though.
I: What do you worry about?
J: Well, we have put in some new anti-aircraft missiles over there in case, uh, there is a disturbance, you know.
J: Now North Korea has a hell of a job feeding itself. And they can’t do it.
Now if you’re in the Army, you’re gonna get fed. Now, they can’t feed themselves. That means they might have to come down into South Korea
J: to get some food. But that’s the reason why they got the heavy artillery pieces up there. I hope they have peace.
I: Yes, we do.
J: Hm. I can’t see any sense going off to war. No sense in that. A lot of good men getting killed on both sides. Now I say that so, the Chinese, they can’t, it’s very hard to grow food over there, very hard.
I: Have you been to China?
J: Yeah, was up there 29 months.
I: No, China.
J: No, no, not China, no. I was on the banks of the Yalu River.
I: Uh huh.
J: Right across the Yalu River was China.
J: No, I, I’ll pass through China, how’s that?
I: So how can we build a trust and peace there?
J: Well, you ought to know that now. That’s your job.
I: I need an old man’s wisdom here.
J: No, we can’t. Well, uh, you got to have something that they want. You gotta have I don’t know what. Manufacture something that the South wants. And then they get a transfer food for whatever
he wants. He can get from North Korea.
I: Very good point.
J: Well, um, it has to be something nice. I don’t know what it would be. Maybe, uh, luggage, um. And I don’t know what else.
I: I think you emphasizing that we need to be nicer together towards them, right?
J: That’d be nice, yes. But you [INAUDIBLE] tolerance
J: Don’t let them get away with too much. Um, actually I think the people, they want peace. They don’t want war. They don’t want any more fighting and [INAUDIBLE] So
I: But all news and medias
always saying that they want to fight. They hate, all these things come in the newspapers.
J: That’s news. I just, they don’t want to fight. There’s nothing to fight for.
I: Um hm.
J: And they, they have no food to fight for. And you, you, you take away their food, what are they gonna do, starve to death? The best thing to do is work out a trade agreement with South Korea.
I: I want to elect you as my President.
J: Well, that’s a lot easier said than done. No, they know all that. I’m, I’d say get a hold of those people and say you’re gonna straighten up. I want, get that railroad fixed. That’s the first thing. Get that railroad fixed with, uh, North Korea where you can transport the food every day.
Um, they never been in war. And once they’ve been in war, they, and seeing the number of men killed, it represents [INAUDIBLE] But they quit that silly war games out, it be a lot better. Have peace. All they want, all they want is food, a decent way to make a living.
Oh yeah. I forgot one thing. Um, somewhere along the line, there’s gonna be trouble break out. You got to be able to stop it.
I: Um hm. How?
J: Well, how?
I, that’s your job.
I: Strong military?
J: Well, we don’t want a war, and they don’t want a war. They would be able, I just hope that someone in some background wants to stop it.
Korean people are good people. I believe they want peace just like we do.
I: What is the legacy of Korean War and Korean War veterans?
J: I think it’s very friendly. The Chinese and the Koreans, I think we could all live together
I believe it’s, uh, Korean, what’s real good about them, they increased their living standard. Their living standard is real good. I’m glad to see that, too. Well I thought it real amazing, uh, once, uh, we got [INAUDIBLE] Korean,
oh, I was in the prison camp. I told you about it. Well, we went off into a North Korean. Well, they had a corn crop there. We went over there and, and, uh, stole some corn and, um, I did that with a, a friend, a Turkish officer.
J: Yeah. We had Turkish officers there. And, uh, he, uh, I tell you what. I thought one of us said,
pulled a corn out of my, my jacket and, uh, and so forth, uh. But it’s Korean [INAUDIBLE] so I ‘d better, it took us two weeks in the pokey.
I: Two weeks?
J: Two weeks in the pokey, yeah, for stealing corn. Told us
the corn didn’t belong to the North Koreans. But we stole them anyway. But what made me mad he probably would have let us go if we hadn’t, he said to deny it.
I: So there were other officers from other countries?
J: Oh yeah, um hm, yeah. We had Thailanders there.
J: Yeah. And, uh, South African, New Zealand
I: New Zealand
J: Um, Turkish. Oh, we had a con, conglomeration of everything.
I: Were there any funny things happening?
J: Funny things?
I: Yeah, among the officers?
J: Not too much.
You know, not much you can.
I: What about the British guy? Were they funny?
J: Well, I didn’t think so. I slept right next to them. They’re, different lifestyle.. Every morning they’d get up and work on that moustache.
J: Yeah. You know, that little
I: What for? Was in the prison camp.
J: Well, I don’t know what for. But, uh, he, the y worked on them for about 10 minutes. And each one of them had a handlebar moustache except the Second Lieutenants. And the British were, they were the laziest crops of people I’ve ever seen in my life.
I: That lazy?
J: Yeah. They don’t do nothing. All day long. All they do is talk.
I: And the brush
J: Oh, yeah. [INAUUDIBLE] in our whole prison camp. We had about, oh, 50 some odd officers. Not one time did we have a British officer escape from prison.
I: And then?
J: Oh. When they finally around to breaking out, they were aware of the fact that no British officers ever broke out. Then they went down and got two Second Lieutenants to work on. So they actually walked out of the compound. Oh man. Huh?
FEMALE: Did they come back?
J: Well, they got them down the edge of town and then they stopped them.
J: And there you go back. Course, we had quite a few Americans you know. One night it was real cold, too. We had two officers that went out in the cold one night, you know, escaping, snow on the ground. But two days later, they broke back in.
I: Oh. You never tried to escape?
J: Oh, I,
went, I went along a, a guy stole my boots. I got my boots off setting, and he stole my boots.
J: Made me mad.
I: Did you get that back?
J: Oh, he gave them back to me alright. So, it was very easy to get out of the compound, very easy.
Even the Chinese were very, well, you wanna get out, go ahead. But you get out 30 miles away and you don’t have any food
I: What would you be your message?
J: Um, well I have no message at all. Uh, life is great. What’s that? You can’t shoot people.
I had a great time. I didn’t get in much full combat stories. But listen. We were on a tip top hill overlooking Korea, the Capital Korea. And every night there used to be Chinese about a mile away.
Fire a bunch of rounds at us. We never could hit him when we fired back at him. Well hell, he did. We never, we used to missed him, you know. But, uh, he, uh, he finally gave up voting, we did, too.
J: And I have a follow up of 1951
whenever we decided to cut out that horseplay and move North again. And how hard nose to nose combat. There were large and, uh, a number of men were lost on both sides. And it helped the peace process, too. Well, there must have been some others.
I: Thank you, thank you very, very much for your
J: You’re welcome.
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